Dense, but light, this is a rich and luscious cake with real depth of flavour. What’s more, it’s quick and easy to bake. The topping shown below is an optional extra, but I highly recommend it for a lovely, rich and tasty finish. It’s flexible too. For example, I’d planned to use two pears but only had one in the fruit bowl, so in went an apple and half a banana. And it came out fine.
Serves: 10 – 12
Time: 70 – 75 minutes + decorating time, depending on what you decide to do
Need: 1 x 20cm/8” round tin, preferably loose bottomed, with reasonably high sides
- 140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
- 60g/2oz cocoa powder + 1 tsp to dust the tin
- 275g/9½oz wholemeal self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 200g/7oz golden caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 2 pears, peeled, cored and diced (and/or use apples)
- 60g/2oz chocolate chips (White, dark or milk – take your pick)
- 175ml/6fl oz buttermilk (or normal milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
NB As the photos show, I made two 20cm/8” cakes by simply doubling the amounts shown above, but I actually had enough mixture for an unexpected extra 15cm/6” cake.
- 75ml – 100ml double cream
- 125g – 150g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 100g – 125g full fat cream cheese
- 75g – 100g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Any chosen decorations, such as sprinkles,nuts, edible flowers or grated chocolate.
* These are approximate measurements; it’s a very flexible topping. Use only as a guide.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Grease and base line the tin with baking parchment then add a dusting of cocoa powder.
2. Weigh out the flour into a large bowl then sift in the cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Whisk the butter for a few minutes then add the sugar. Cream them together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time with a tsp of the flour mixture. Beat well between each addition.
4. Stir in the diced pears/apples and chocolate chips. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Combine well.
5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, level the surface and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until firm and springy to the touch or test by inserting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean then it’s baked OK.
6. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
7. For the topping, heat the double cream (but not to boiling) and pour over the chocolate pieces. Set aside. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese until smooth then sift in the icing sugar. Stir to mix then beat more vigorously. Stir in the vanilla extract.
8. Now combine the two mixtures and beat well. Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the cake and decorate as you wish.
* You may want to invert the cake to give a nice flat surface.
Below are a few that I’d love you to try: